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Privatize the USPS?

Races for the Senate, U.S. House, etc. and other issues of national importance.

Re: Privatize the USPS?

Postby ArturoBandini » Thu Jan 10, 2013 7:53 pm

Bland wrote:Can you think of ANY product or service that you don't think should be governed solely by free market forces?
Depending on how loosely you define product or service, yes. Parenting is an area where individual rights and laissez faire become blurred somewhat, both for the parent and the child. The parent has an obligation to provide for the well-being of the child and the child has a limited set of personal freedoms as a result.

I'm open to argument on services like the criminal justice system, border defense, and environmental protection, at least in the short term. There are true free market concepts that deal with these issues, but the transition from here to there would be very risky. Particularly with border defense/immigration issues - the standard libertarian canon is to let everyone migrate wherever they want. But my suspicion is that this would backfire if an area whose dominant culture respected individual rights were overwhelmed by a culture that did not. I don't think this is a particular risk for the U.S. as it stands, though.

I can't think of anything that is totally unregulated/uncontrolled/free today that should be regulated or nationalized. I'm open to consider your suggestions.

Your use of of the word "forces" is perplexing. The free market is defined by a lack of forces, or at least forces applied artificially or arbitrarily. Saying "free market forces" is like saying "atheist religious beliefs" - it's not a very accurate description of whatever you're trying to describe. Any perceived forces that occur are just the aggregate influence of the individual decisions of all the participants in a given market.
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Re: Privatize the USPS?

Postby ArturoBandini » Thu Jan 10, 2013 7:58 pm

WestSideYuppie wrote:Again, these are not based on theory or moral principle, but simply practical expectations.
These examples are all very real risks and I would not unquestioningly support a quasi-privatization of postal services (like cable tv local monopolies, defense contractors etc).
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Re: Privatize the USPS?

Postby ArturoBandini » Thu Jan 10, 2013 8:00 pm

WestSideYuppie wrote:3. Continual cycle of bankruptcies and bail-outs of the major players to maintain the illusion of a competitive market
Is this alluding to the airline industry? That's a whole 'nother discussion we can start in a different thread. 8)
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Re: Privatize the USPS?

Postby Prof. Wagstaff » Thu Jan 10, 2013 8:29 pm

ArturoBandini wrote:you and most other people already own or have convenient access to a computer, internet access, or other sophisticated communications technologies.
Yes, most do. Another way to say it, though, would be that 1 out of 5 households don't. But fuck them, right?
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Re: Privatize the USPS?

Postby ArturoBandini » Thu Jan 10, 2013 9:01 pm

Prof. Wagstaff wrote:
ArturoBandini wrote:you and most other people already own or have convenient access to a computer, internet access, or other sophisticated communications technologies.
Yes, most do. Another way to say it, though, would be that 1 out of 5 households don't. But fuck them, right?
What does the trend look like for internet access penetration? How many people will be left without access in 10 or 20 years? How many of the remaining stragglers don't have internet by choice, instead of by financial destitution or lack of available service?

It would also be interesting to see how many people don't conduct any significant business using the U.S. Mail. Anyone who lives a cash-centric existence could probably get by without a regular mailing address or book of stamps.

Regardless, it won't be much longer until every cell phone sold has internet capability and near every place of public accommodation (e.g. McDonalds) has free internet access. I'm not saying that this is as good as unrestricted private broadband service on a laptop, but it would suffice for basic communication needs. In developing economies, people use SMS text service for all sorts of financial transactions, no dedicated internet connection required.

I suppose that if all my predictions come true and lead to full digitization of anything that would have previously been sent as a first-class letter or bulk-mail item, that the USPS could hypothetically wither away as demand for its services dried up, even under government control. But I think that is probably wishful thinking given the vested interests of established bureaucracies.
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Re: Privatize the USPS?

Postby WestSideYuppie » Thu Jan 10, 2013 11:59 pm

ArturoBandini wrote:
WestSideYuppie wrote:Again, these are not based on theory or moral principle, but simply practical expectations.
These examples are all very real risks and I would not unquestioningly support a quasi-privatization of postal services (like cable tv local monopolies, defense contractors etc).

I doubt that anybody would even step up to the plate and offer widespread mail service without the hope of "Republican Privatization" or some other boondoggle.
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Re: Privatize the USPS?

Postby WestSideYuppie » Fri Jan 11, 2013 12:05 am

ArturoBandini wrote:Regardless, it won't be much longer until every cell phone sold has internet capability and near every place of public accommodation (e.g. McDonalds) has free internet access. I'm not saying that this is as good as unrestricted private broadband service on a laptop, but it would suffice for basic communication needs. In developing economies, people use SMS text service for all sorts of financial transactions, no dedicated internet connection required.


How competitive is the cell phone business really? Is there real competition in rural areas? I'm not just talking about the sale of phones and plans, but access to the network.

Businesses don't inherently love or seek free markets and competition any more than governments do.
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Re: Privatize the USPS?

Postby wack wack » Fri Jan 11, 2013 10:53 am

wack wack wrote:What former government agencies or services have been privatized to resounding success?


ArturoBandini wrote:Privatization could prevent this from happening, or barring that, perhaps induce it to happen faster and more efficiently (like pulling off a band-aid).

Successful privatization of state-run business.


Thank you for one almost completely irrelevant example.

How about a list of successfully privatized American agencies from the last 20 years or so?
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